Tucson, Arizona embodies the old west with Saguaro cactus, colorful sunsets, with a rich and detailed history captured by the local architecture and art. What started as a frontier town just 70 miles from the US/Mexico border, Tucson is now a medium sized city with an industrious and forward thinking culture, active nightlife, and diverse restaurant scene. Because of its location, Tucson has warm temperatures year round, rarely dipping below 40°F during the winter months. The moderate temperature and natural beauty make Tucson a wonderful location for tourism, while outdoor activities, museums, and nightlife attractions are bound to keep your schedule full.
With a variety of hiking trails and biking paths, Tucson is a great place to visit year-round to witness and experience natural beauty of the country. Several amazing natural locations you can visit include Saguaro National Park, Mt. Lemmon, and Tucson Mountain Park. Saguaro National Park holds many hiking trails, bike paths, camping sites, and is an ideal place to witness the majesty of the standing Saguaro cacti. Keep in mind, as well, that you will be able to see the stars quite clearly on any night in Tucson. Tucson’s strict light-pollution laws allow stargazers to experience the full glory of the night sky.
Mt. Lemmon, which towers above this city, holds a variety of hiking trails and camping sites as well. Two of the most popular hiking destinations on Mt. Lemmon are scenic waterfalls Tanque Verde Falls and Seven Falls.
Besides the hiking trails, sightseeing spots, and camping destinations, Tucson also holds two popular biking events, the Tour de Tucson and the 24 Hours in Old Pueblo. The Tour de Tucson typically enlists 9000+ participants every year, and has distance options ranging from 1 to 100 miles. The Tour de Tucson is a citywide event, with many local business participating and adding to the celebration.
24 Hours in Old Pueblo, on the other hand, is a community race/camping event that takes place at a 16 mile course just North of the city proper. In this event, you can register with a team or go individual to race as many miles you possibly within a 24-hour time frame.
Or, if you are looking for a more relaxed bicycling routine, you can always jump on the Tucson Party Bike, a pedal-powered mobile bar. You can either rent the whole bar with a group of friends, or pay $35 to ride along for the evening. The Party Bike is BYOB, and will take you barhopping to all along downtown and 4th Avenue.
After seeing and appreciating the natural side of Tucson, check out the museums. Tucson has more than 70 museums, spanning in topic from art, culture, history, to science and aerospace. By far the most popular and most visited museum in Tucson, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum features exhibits on the ecology, biology, geography, and natural history of the Arizona Sonora desert. The museum is enormous and contains a variety of activities to keep you occupied for at least a day.
Another popular site is the Pima Air and Space Museum, where you can witness the progression of more than 100 years of aerospace advancement in one of the largest museums of its kind. Besides the museums, Tucson also a variety of churches, monuments, and historical buildings worth visiting and experiencing.
Lasting several weeks once per year, typically from January to February, visitors can explore, peruse, and purchase wonders at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. The Gem and Mineral Show is the largest event of its kind, attracting people from all over the world. At the gem and mineral show, you can find fossil and mineral exhibits, purchase jewelry and art, and enjoy the novelty of witnessing the largest variety and gems and minerals all in one place. If you are a jeweler or business, you may even wish to participate in exclusive wholesale events. The Gem Show also attracts and inspires a variety of periphery events, such as the Tucson Gem and Jam music festival.
After a day exploring, it’s nice to wind down and have a nice bite. As a key junction of the southwest, Tucson is a mixing bowl for Tex-Mex, Route 66, and southwestern cuisine. Tucson is also home to more than 20 craft breweries, making it a great location for comfort food. Some local food favorites include Monkey Burger, Barrio Brewery, and Sentinel Peak Brewery.
One of the most popular areas for food, drink, and community is 4th Avenue, which connects The University of Arizona to downtown. You can also find places like Epic Cafe, Revolutionary Grounds, and The Hut Tiki bar. This is an area favored by artists, musicians, and college students. If you’re looking for live music, Rialto Theater and Club Congress typically have showcases featuring a variety of artists.
Twice a year, 4th Avenue also closes the streets and sets up tents for the Tucson Street Fair. At the fair, you can find arts and crafts, bargains on food and drink, and entertaining activities for all. Similarly, on specific holidays and other special events, you will occasionally find streets closed down to allow more foot traffic and cyclists. One other event that takes place is Cyclovia. During Cyclovia, certain streets in a preplanned route throughout the city are closed to allow families to take their bicycles out for a leisurely ride. Many well-known publications have listed Tucson as one of the top-ten most bike-friendly cities in the United States—and on days like Cyclovia, it shows.
So whether you’re looking for a relaxing picnic at the park, an adventurous hike through the wilderness, a good bite, or a fun and relaxed time, Tucson is a great year-round destination for travel and leisure.